Mumbai, April 2020: Thadomal Shahani Centre for Management (TSCFM), one of India’s premier management business schools and part of The Shahani Group of Institutions, hosted a webinar on the nuances of teaching in an online classroom for faculty members and educators all over the city. The webinar and was attended by educators from HSNC (Hyderabad (Sind) National Collegiate) Group of colleges including K.C. College of Management Studies, Smt. M.M.K. College of Commerce & Economics, H.R. College of Commerce and Economics, Thadomal Shahani Engineering College and K.M. Kundnani College of Pharmacy to name a few.
The webinar was conducted by Mr. Amit Sharma, COO, The Shahani Group, a veteran of the e-learning industry with more than 20 years’ experience setting up online education platforms in the United States, Europe, Africa and India. Through the webinar, Mr. Sharma was able to highlight the key areas that educators need to lay emphasis on to create a wholesome online education experience.
Sessions should always have a hook
In a time when students have a very limited attention span, an idea way to grab their attention is by starting online sessions with an interesting hook. It could be an anecdote or a scene from a movie or sitcom, or even a chapter or quote from a book that is related to the topic of the lecture. A well-known fact is that teachers can lose up to 20% of their student’s attention if they talk for more than 2 minutes. Hence, it is recommended to keep it short, and have a hook.
Limit participants in a virtual classroom
In a virtual classroom, it is always advisable to limit the number of students participating to 30. By doing so, teachers will be able to take shorter and more sessions, as well as interact with each and every student who has joined the class.
Encourage the use of video conferencing
While many virtual meeting aggregators have the option to switch off video mode, while still being a part of a meeting, it is advisable to encourage students to keep their video on at all times. As a teacher, this is particularly important in order to make sure students are attentive, and connect with them by asking questions.
Make the classes interactive
A virtual classroom is very different from a physical one, and students tend to lose attention easily if the class is not engaging enough. Most teachers make the mistake of running presentations or indulging in monologues which may wear the student out. Teachers should instead adapt a ‘flipped classroom’ approach, to increase student engagement and active learning.
Each class should have a coordinator, who can assist the teacher to ensure a smooth operation of the lecture. The coordinator can help assess student behaviour and ensure that discipline is maintained throughout the session.
Dr. Akhil Shahani, Managing Director, The Shahani Group, said, “The webinar is a step in our efforts to transform and strengthen Indian education, with the view of making education available to all. We endeavour to ensure that students receive the best education even in difficult times like these from the safety of their homes. The webinar attempted to equip educators to not only take up the challenges of teaching virtually, but also push the limits of their professional capabilities for the benefit of the students.”
Speaking about the importance of transitioning to online learning, Mr. Amit Sharma, COO, The Shahani Group said, “We are living in challenging times, where our very ways of existing have changed. Education too, while changing, must not be stopped or paused. By transitioning to online learning modules, we are able to keep up the flow of information, and engage with our students. While it did take some adjustments, today, we can proudly state that we have close to 400 students attending our sessions every day, along with a 95% attendance rate, overall. Online learning is definitely catching on, and will continue, well after lockdowns are lifted.”
The event was aimed at helping educators find the best practices that can be adopted to conduct an interesting, interactive and disciplined online class. The college also issued a set of guidelines for students to make the most out of their online learning experience. A first of many such efforts, the institute plans to hold two more webinars this week with final year students of MMK College, on the 22nd and 23rd April for students on the topic ‘Careers After Graduation’.
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